NAIDOC Week 2020
‘Always was, always will be’
To celebrate NAIDOC Week 2020, the Public Health Association of Australia is publishing a series of articles, capturing the learnings and lessons from presentations at our recent virtual Australian Public Health Conference. Given the year we have had, not surprisingly, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic dominated much of our 2020 conference. We hope you enjoy these articles which strongly focus on sharing information, building resilience and keeping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people safe throughout the pandemic.
WellMob portal provides a one-stop-shop for COVID-safe information
‘In March 2020 with the emerging coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a need to have a central location for all health resources and information to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.’
So said Michelle Elwell, Senior Research Officer at the Australian Indigenous InfoNet, as fears rose about the potential spread of the pandemic into Australia’s Indigenous communities.
The Health InfoNet was created 23 years ago to support those working in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector by making research and other important information and knowledge readily accessible. It is widely regarded as an important resource to help close the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.
The arrival of the pandemic in early 2020 required a new platform which would contain all the relevant information for the health workforce and community members.
‘We saw the need to have a central location where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals and community could access timely, relevant, and culturally appropriate resources,’ Michelle said.
After consulting with the National Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) to ensure the new WellMob portal would be relevant for their member organisations and communities, it was launched.
‘It brought together online resources made by, and for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,’ Michelle said.
The WellMob portal contained apps, podcasts, videos, helplines and social media with a focus on social and emotional wellbeing and it provided access to all state and territory government health websites.
‘We regularly updated the information on the portal as new resources or relevant information became available, providing access to 100 resources in total.’
One of those resources was an easy-to-follow flow chart for COVID-19 contacts and cases in remote communities which was adapted from the World Health Organization by the Australian National University.
‘It provides simple instructions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to follow when a COVID case has been identified in a remote community.’
WellMob is now recognised widely as the place to go for consistent, up-to-date public health messaging in support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.